By Connor Johnson, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz. – A balanced scoring attack and a dominant defensive effort in the second half propelled the No. 11 Arizona State women’s basketball team to a 60-36 victory over Arizona on Tuesday night in the first of back-to-back Territorial Cup® Series games being contested this week.
Five players finished with seven or more points for the Sun Devils (20-3, 9-2 Pac-12), led by Katie Hempen, who scored nine of her 11 points in the second half. ASU’s bench came up big on Tuesday, scoring 36 points, and was something Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne recognized after the game.
“I thought it was a great team win,” Turner Thorne said. “The starters started us strong, but then (the bench) came in and built that lead even bigger. It was a great team win.”
Also providing a spark off the bench was freshman Quinn Dornstauder, who had four points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
After a slow start, ASU was able to outscore the Wildcats 34-10 in the second half on its way to its fifth consecutive win. Turner Thorne was proud of how the team, which was playing its third game in five days, responded after a sluggish first half.
“Emotionally, we were excited for the game,” Turner Thorne said. “Mentally, we weren’t quite ourselves early on, but then we just got fired up. I think that’s going to make the difference for us down the stretch… if we can play the type of defense we played in the second half.”
The Wildcats (4-18, 0-11) were led by senior Kama Griffitts, who finished with 10 points, and senior Carissa Crutchfield, who finished with nine. However, both players were held scoreless in the second half.
ASU missed five of its first seven shots and trailed the Wildcats 7-4 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half.
After an Eliza Normen jumper brought ASU within one, the Wildcats went on an 11-2 run to take an 18-8 lead with eight minutes remaining.
ASU shot 38 percent (11-29) in the game’s first 20 minutes and didn’t connect on a 3-pointer until Deja Mann’s triple with 1:11 left in the half.
Elisha Davis followed with another three, capping an 8-1 ASU run that tied the score at 26-26 at the break.
The second half was a much different story for the Sun Devils, as they started the half on a 12-2 run and never looked back.
After a jumper by Erica Barnes got Arizona within 12, 46-34 with 11:29 left, the Wildcats would not score again until Breanna Workman hit the first of two free throws with 17 seconds remaining in the game.
As has been the case all season long, ASU was dominant on the glass, outrebounding Arizona 37-28. Freshmen Kelsey Moos (nine rebounds), Sophie Brunner (eight rebounds) and Dornstauder (seven rebounds) combined for 24 boards, including nine of ASU’s 14 of the offensive glass. ASU also put on a great display of distributing the ball, recording 18 assists on 23 field goals. Davis, Hempen and Mann led the way with four assists each.
With its 20th win of the season, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games 10 times since the 2000-01 season.The Sun Devils return to action on Sunday (1 p.m. MT), when they once again face the Wildcats – this time in Tucson – in round two of the Territorial Cup® Series. The game can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks and heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.